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Passage of bill would keep local jets, jobs

The defense appropriations bill approved Thursday by the U.S. House would keep A-10 combat jets at Fort Wayne’s Air National Guard base.

The Air Force announced plans in February to retire 100 of its A-10 aircraft, including 20 at the 122nd Fighter Wing on Ferguson Road. The Air Force intended to replace the jets at Fort Wayne with half as many surveillance planes, a shift that would have eliminated 152 full- and part-time jobs at the base, which employs 1,200 people.

But the House and Senate passed bills freezing personnel and aircraft assignments during fiscal 2013, and the Air Force backed off its proposed cuts and realignments.

“Taxpayers expect Washington to make every penny count and it makes sense to fully employ a base that operates at just 28 cents on the dollar when compared to active duty forces,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, said Thursday in a statement about the 122nd Fighter Wing.

Among lawmakers voting in favor of the bill were Stutzman and Reps. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, and Mike Pence, R-6th. Rep. Dan Burton, R-5th, did not vote.

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